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Monthly Archives: April 2012

State By State (6): North Carolina

Entering a state on a small highway is definitely more fun than doing in on an interstate. North Carolina, the “Tar Heel State”, will be our home for the next eleven days, so there won’t be any new state line signs in a while.

Having lunch at the cozy “Country Kitchen” in Cheraw, South Carolina, right before moving into North Carolina

“The 145 Club”

With Steve Hobson and Elfi Hacker, the owners of the “145 Club” in Winnsboro, South Carolina

Winnsboro, South Carolina, is not exactly what you would call a vibrant metropolis, but rather a sleepy Southern smalltown with about 3500 inhabitants. All the more I must praise the heroic efforts of Elfi Hacker and Steve Hobson to  supply the open-minded part of Winnsboro’s population with a cool place to hang out and listen to great live music: “The 145 Club” on Congress Street. If you should ever come to South Carolina, please check it out!

With the Douglas sisters at the “145 Club”. Singer-songwriter Susan Taylor Douglas (on the right) sang a beautiful song during Tish’s show. Her first CD will be released later this year. Lynn Douglas is a doctor who saved me from a nasty bronchitis two years ago. She also sings and played a nice opening set for Tish (with Bill Stidham, brother of New Mexico legend and old Tish buddy Michael Hearne)

With blues musician Rev. Marv Ward and his girlfriend (whose name unfortunately I don’t remember). Listen to Marv’s version of “High Flying Bird”!

Introducing: Fayssoux Starling McLean (and a new religion)

Tish’s show in Columbia, South Carolina was graced by a guest appearance by South Carolina based singer-songwriter Fayssoux Starling McLean. Back in the seventies, Fayssoux sang harmony vocals on all the classic Emmylou Harris albums, from “Pieces Of The Sky” to “Blue Kentucky Girl”. After that time, she basically left the music  business and became a teacher. A few years ago, she decided to go back to music and recorded her first solo album, “Early”. Fayssoux is a very charming Southern lady with a wonderful voice, and it was great to hear her sing some duets with Tish, including Tish’s “Corazon Viajero” (which showed that Fayssoux’s Spanish is very good) and “Early”, the title song of Fayssoux’s CD (which you can listen to here).

The concert in Columbia, by the way, took place in a Unitarian-Universalist church, and while on that evening that was just the location for the show, Tish got asked whether she would sing a few songs at the c0ngregation’s service the next morning, which was a Sunday. I had no idea what Unitarian Universalism was about, so it was certainly an interesting experience to watch the service and learn a bit about that religion. As Wikipedia puts it, “Unitarian Universalists do not share a creed; rather, they are unified by their shared search for spiritual growth and by the understanding that an individual’s theology is a result of that search and not obedience to an authoritarian requirement. (…) Members may describe themselves as atheist, agnostic, deist, monotheist, polytheist, or assume no label at all.” Now I certainly do not need a new religion, or any religion, for that matter, and I don’t seem to have a spiritual bone in me, but if any of you happen to be looking for a new spiritual experience, you might want to give the UUs a chance. At least they don’t seem to be doing anything bad, which off the top of my head I couldn’t say about any other religion.

State By State (5): South Carolina

You’re wondering, why this state line picture turned out comparatively decent? Well, we cheated. Twofold: For one thing, we stopped the car in front of the sign, just because that was possible on the small highway we were on. And second, we did not take the picture on our way into the state of South Carolina, but on our way out. In other words, this photo was not taken from Georgia, but from North Carolina. To our excuse I must say that it was practically impossible to take a picture at the moment of entering South Carolina: We had no idea that the state starts on the other side of the Savannah River, which flows through downtown Augusta. One minute we were driving past the James Brown statue and literally the next minute we found ourselves in South Carolina – without a state line picture.

The Name Of The Place? Augusta, GA!

We couldn’t leave Georgia without visiting Augusta, the hometown of The Hardest Working Man In Show Business, The Godfather Of Soul, Mr. Dynamite etc.: James Brown. That city sure honors the memory of its most famous citizen, so it didn’t take us long to find the James Brown statue. It stands on Broad Street, right in the middle of downtown.

And then there’s more:

The last picture should be particularly interesting for James Brown fans, because the place that is now called the James Brown Arena used to be the Bell Auditorium, in other words it’s the venue in which James Brown recorded his live album “Sex Machine” in 1969/70 (well, parts of it anyway, according to Wikipedia), one of the greatest pieces of music ever made. Here’s the song “There Was A Time” (hope the link works). If you listen closely, you will recognize the title line of this post.

State By State (3+4): Alabama + Georgia

Unfortunately I don’t have much to say about “Sweet Home Alabama”. We just crossed it on our way from Mississippi to Georgia. Would have loved to check out places like Tuscaloosa or Birmingham, if only for the songs that they have been mentioned in, but there just wasn’t enough time.

Georgia brought about the worst state line picture so far. We drove to Atlanta and stayed at the house (or should I say palace?) of Tish’s nephew Michael for two nights. The Coca-Cola Museum in downtown Atlanta was ok, but I wouldn’t call it a must-see. The real Georgia highlight was yet to come.

Where the King was born

Having already been to Graceland and the Sun Records Studio in Memphis on a former trip, it was about time for Tish and me to visit Elvis Presley’s birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi. The kind of house that young Elvis lived in with his parents Gladys and Vernon is called a shotgun house, because, if you open all the doors, a bullet from a gun could go right through the house without hitting a wall. At least that’s the explanation for the term that tourguides in the South will give you. I just read on Wikipedia that there are several other theories as to where the word comes from. Looks like the factchecker in me never sleeps …